Thursday, June 7, 2012

Choose to be Encouraged

It's been a while since my last entry and a lot has happened since then. Today I wanted to write about the life of an actor. (This Sh*t is hard!) Within the past few months after the "To Kill a Mockingbird Tour ended, I've been grinding so hard I could barely see whats in front of me. Right now at this moment as I attend countless workshops and auditions, I am still relatively invisible in this business. (I have been going at this for years)

I see why so many actors give up, it is because this business is so financially unrewarding and unreliable that it is EASY to say: "Screw this, I have a college degree and I deserve more than what I'm settling for everyday."  We actors settle for the free work, we settle for that day job, we spend our money on headshots and resumes for that dream of having a career. Forget "fame and fortune", that is not the reason for this pursuit. At this point (most actors would agree with me) we just want a job. The sad part about this is that jobs are extremely hard to come by without representation or union membership and this is the limbo some of us are stuck in.

Open calls > Submissions > Work (not acting) > Workshops > Job interview > Audition...  Over and over again.

This cycle seems endless and scary and it can discourage you if you let it. I almost did and it had an  effect on my recent auditions and a project I worked on. I didn't I put my usual 100% into my craft and that is because I was letting this fickle business get to me. One minute you can be stuck in limbo looking for work and the next minute you're doing several projects at once. The highs are HIGH and the lows can get so low its sickening.

If you are an actor reading this, I advise you to choose to be inspired and choose to be encouraged. There is a reason why you have the desire to act in your heart. Use that desire to inform your path as an artist. You have something to give and a story to tell so get out there and book some work!

-Sean Boyce Johnson

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Faith and Why I Do What I Do

Aside from prayer, my only source of release is performing. When I perform I’m escaping from my life and exploring someone else's I'm a happy person but sometimes the stress from life can be overwhelming.

When I’m performing, what my character has to say is automatically heard. I don’t have to fight for the audience to hear me. When I act I’m living the life of a person in another universe, world or time. I’m so caught up in the performance that I forget about my life, I’m dealing with someone else's problems or conflicts. I love acting, it is part of what makes me who I am and it keeps me sane. I MUST act because it is my truest form of artistic expression, I love telling stories. The stage is heaven on earth for me.
This is who I am, I am a man who loves God. I love my family and friends. I am so grateful that both of my parents stress that they are here for me. I have my father now and I have Jesus and my mother. My mother is my hero, without her I don’t know where I would be. I thank God for what good has come into my life and I also thank God for giving me qualities and skills to affect the world even at the smallest level.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

To Kill a Mockingbird

We are just over halfway done with the tour of "To KIll a Mockingbird". This play, adapted from the award winning novel, still manages to capture the essence of the story in its abbreviated form. This show gets the message across very well. Audience reactions to the show have been outstanding, we've had several standing ovations and packed houses. This play reminds me of why we as actors do what we do: We tell stories that mean something to the world while entertaining.
The  trial scene
A recurring theme in this play is "right and wrong" and those that make the choice between the two. Another major theme is innocence which represents the idea of the 'mockingbird'. There are about three characters in the play that represent mockingbirds and my character Tom Robinson is definitely one of them. I knew for a fact that he was, due to his innocent nature and his race being the reason why so many characters want to kill him. The play addresses the issue of racism and being wrongly accused, which is an issue we still deal with in today's society.

Tom Robinson takes the stand

I'm having so much fun working with this company and the work we are doing is great, it means something to me. I hope and pray to work on more projects like "To Kill a Mockingbird" in the future.
The cast warming up before the show 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Actors: The Imagination and the "Third Eye"

I have come to the complete conclusion that actors are people who haven't grown out of playing "make believe" (i.e. Cops & Robbers). They use that desire to serve a greater purpose and that is to tell a story. I've learned that in order to be an actor you should have numerous qualities, but  one of them are EXTREMELY important. Actors must listen to the people around them and immerse themselves into the world in which the story takes place. Listening is such an important part of our job and in doing so we eliminate what some people call the "Third Eye"

The "Third Eye" is when an actor is on stage thinking about the audience how they are being perceived. This is a trap because you are no longer in the moment, you paying more attention to the audience than your scene partners. The "Third Eye" is recipe for disaster when your role doesn't call for it. I still find myself drifting in and out of the universe on stage sometimes, when you are aware of this, you can keep your imagination in tact!

-Sean Boyce Johnson

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Why Are We Here?

I just moved in to the apartment out here with the Pendragon company. Since I'm here by myself, I've had a lot of time to think in just one night. I just had a thought about our purpose on this planet as people. We all have gifts and things to share whether it is a skill you have acquired or a talent. God gives each of us things that we can share with others.

Where am I going with this? I recently came to the conclusion that our God-given abilities are not supposed to die with us. We are supposed to touch people. I know someone who has the gift of motivating and inspiring others but he has not explored this ability to its full potential. Yes, most people have day jobs, but it shouldn't mean that we stop there. We as people should work in a way where we can survive as well as reach others with our gifts. I feel that there are two VERY big misconceptions about life on earth and they are

  1. Go to school, find a job/career, get married, have kids, retire, and then live until we die.
  2. Go to school or skip it... use a talent to get rich or famous... then get married and so forth.
There are many more that I could add to this list, but I see that these goals are common. These concepts become warped when people pursue these with no purpose, they just do so for self fulfillment.  I realized that a career, job, or hobby is something that you have to offer to yourself and others, we should not die with our gifts going to waste.

Do what you are good at and don't think about success, think about how you want to serve the world. It shouldn't matter that you gain popularity from what you do for others. Use your platform or reach to service the world regardless of whether you reach 5 people or 5 million.

I will state that it is not about being "successful"... A lot of people think "success" is a synonym for rich and it isn't. I see success as being happy, inspired and having that rub off on the people you come into contact with. Success is also reaching a goal but if you attain that goal and you aren't happy... Guess what? You are NOT successful.

Don't think about "success" and you will succeed because you were thinking about others. THAT should be part of what makes you happy, THAT is success.

-Sean Boyce Johnson

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Second Home!

As a child I never thought I was good at anything. I wasn't very good at sports, I was an average (B) student in class, but when I stepped on stage or had the opportunity to entertain people, I was in my element. I knew that I enjoyed performing and telling stories. I loved it before I even knew what it (acting) was or that I could even pursue it as a career! I love being in the theatre; there are times when I just walk into a theater and just chill out. I'm going to sound a little cheesy when I say this but I literally feel something in the air when I’m in a theatre. I feel charged, if I'm having a bad day, spending time in the theatre helps. There were times during the rehearsals and run of Topdog/Underdog that I would just walk into the theatre alone and go over or study lines. Some people that I have worked with think I'm crazy... a lot of the time when cast and crew leave, I'm not in a hurry to leave the theatre because I feel at home. I thank God that not only do I feel comfortable and at home in the theatre but I have something to offer as an actor as well.

-Sean Boyce Johnson